December 31, 2013

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 370 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 31, 2012

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 1, 2012

Spot 057: Envy and Regret

57_00

PURGATORY SEX TWINS
by Callan

My sister and I hold hands as we walk up the long flight of cold, white, marble stairs. The stairs gleam in the perpetual blackness. I can not see the bottom of the steps when I am at the top and I can not see the top of them when I am at the bottom. When we reach the last step I let go of her hand, and the great empty dark space grows still dimmer.
“I can’t go with you any further.” My voice booms out in the cavernous darkness much louder than I intend.

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IT’S NOT ME, IT’S HYMN
by Sandra Davies

I’m not immortal, only feel like I’m invisible and, God knows, not at all wise, none of which would normally make a blind bit of difference, but that article in the paper, the one about divorces amongst the over-sixties being on the rise really made me think.
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ONLY ON A SUNDAY
by Diana E. Backhouse

Dear Lord, forgive me all my sins
Send my demons far away.
I really promise to be good, Lord,
But only on a Sunday.

On Monday, with licentiousness,
My head and heart are full of lust.
On Tuesday gluttony takes charge;
I eat until I’m fit to bust.

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A MIDNIGHT CALL TO ACTION
by Edward Strand

…If I could redeem myself in her eyes, everything would turn out nicely. I had said some things in the morning, which I later regretted. Those remarks left me feeling as if I had been bound in duct tape and left on the old rail lines outside Scranton. My pride was smashed for one thing, and I felt like a single shoe pocketed in an old felt shoe bag without its mate, an outcast in my own neighborhood. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can sour the whole morning. By noon, I experienced a sense of déjà vu. I was checking out the bookstore’s latest acquisitions and recalled the day in 1985 when we were laughing and joking in Hemlock’s, by Row S, when someone from my past said hello, and she got all uptight about the encounter as if I had arranged for it to happen.
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SLIPSTREAM
by Michael D. Brown

…She was the one who first noticed the wispy-haired older man who lay tanning himself, on his blanket every afternoon, staring at the kids with what appeared to be envy, though he never spoke to any of them, and then when the other girls mentioned that they thought he was creepy, she said she found it kind of sad that he was always there alone. One day in late August, Stephanie did not show up, and when she didn’t come the next day, or the day after, Andrew went calling for her, and discovered that she and her mother no longer lived in the two-family house on Crichton Avenue, that in fact, they had just up and moved away from the neighborhood, telling no one where they were going.
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November 17, 2012

Spot 056: Deception and Acquisition

OTTO & THE CLOTH BABY
by Harris Tobias

OTTO and the Cloth Baby were just changing back into civilian dress after yet another astounding super caper involving an international crime cartel whose attempt to smuggle drugs in hollowed out cucumbers met with a stunning defeat. The two Department of Agriculture super heroes were going off duty and, hopefully, getting some much needed R & R.
They had changed into their secret identities: Otto as Clanston Mudridge, wealthy bachelor and gay man about town; and The Cloth Baby as his illegitimate son, Drone.

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THE CAT THAT GOT THE CREAM
by Diana E. Backhouse

Kitty had a coat of silk,
she groomed to make it gleam.
She didn’t care much for her milk
preferring only cream.

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IF YOU TRY SOMETIME
by Michael D. Brown

“Well, you know,” I reminded her, “One of the prime facets of due diligence is you have to understand the custom obtaining in the target’s home jurisdiction.”
“Mmmm,” she agreed in an ostensibly distracted way as if to let me know she did not enjoy being advised in regard to the job she was paid to do. She knew her stuff, and I knew that she knew by the way she skimmed two blood-red fingernails down the side of her wineglass while keeping it perfectly balanced with the rest.
The Stones were playing on the piped-in system but sounding somewhere off in the distance. Low and not at all antagonistic.
No, you can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime, you just might find

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November 10, 2012

Spot 055: Compensation

MAD ABOUT YOU
by Paul de Denus

So yeah, we were friends, she a bit younger, a naïve doll-face with breasts that ran around her sweater whenever she moved, which I suppose was the initial attraction for most of us that hounded after her. She was seeing an older guy, a lawyer who decided his law would be abusive, slapped her with bruises and nightmares as part of his practiced sex routine, hammered her self-worth into self-doubt and she’d call me for advice as if I were some kind of friendly lawyer myself with constructive answers. I’d suggest she either dump the prick or kill him but she would always go back, believing she could fix him.
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THE SCAPULAR
by Donal Mahoney

The money debated and settled,
flipped from his wallet, tossed in her purse,
they prepare to take off.

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TAKING STOCK OF MY PUNISHMENT
by Diana E. Backhouse

It could have been six lashes of the cat o’ nine tails or a spell on the rack until I was six inches taller.
Maybe walking the plank at six bells with six evil pirates brandishing their cutlasses behind me, or facing a firing squad of six riflemen.

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THE BLACKSMITH’S WIFE, PART 8
by Sandra Davies

‘If I reek of roasted meat, will you still want me? As you wanted me before ever we were wed?”
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This is part 8 of ‘The blacksmith’s wife’ …The story can be read in its entirety here.


COMPENSATION
by Michael D. Brown

I do like the idea of transcendence, but that could be because I get to wallow first, for it is said we never appreciate that which comes easily, and you cannot swim with dolphins without getting wet. I have mucked about long enough. The return on my investment is greater than I could have imagined, for though the beans are small, and the cheese hard, they are unquestionably edible, sustaining, and of a singular provenance.
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THE SECRET KEEPER
by Gita M. Smith

“A secret is a funny thing, Harry. If you know a set of facts, they lie there in your brain like a potato – completely ordinary and not especially tasty. But if someone tells you, ‘that set of facts is top-secret,’ you won’t be able to wait to set it on a silver platter and show it to at least one other person. A secret will give you the bends, Harry, and you will want nothing as badly as to share it, just to take the pressure off. You must resist that impulse, boy. For if you share the secrets I’m about to tell you, that will be the end of all your hopes and dreams.”
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November 3, 2012

Spot 054: Boasting and Modesty

DAY 12 NaNo – 30940
by Sandra Davies

Lots of words today, but not ones I’m very pleased about. A couple of sections are cliche-ridden and boring and I knew this as I typed them, but the idea was to get the episode down, to work through the plot of it – the confrontation, the explanation, the threat, the frightening bits … and I was surprised that even out of this quite uncomfortable way of writing, a new development made itself known, so that I have this poor girl who may or may not have been murdered, who disappears but it isn’t clear who, if anyone, might have caused it to happen. Was it murder or misfortune? I don’t know yet …
But what I do know is that I can go back and tighten, improve the words later…

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POINT MADE
by Kerry Logan

She could still feel the heat from the surge of indignant rage that had washed through her. But her pulse, now, was beginning to return to normal. She licked the wound on her upper lip and wondered what it looked like. Was her blood thin, orange tinted, and watery from the spray, running down her face in rivulets or was it more like thick molasses, clotting right near the surface of each small hole. Knowing her, it was probably the later. She kept everything close on a boat, including her blood.
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FALLEN STAR
by Michael D. Brown

After my performance on Tuesday, there was talk of the Tin Cat Pub discontinuing karaoke nights. Everyone knows what a ham I am. Hell, I know it. Of course, they were all unaware of the hours I had spent in front of a mirror rehearsing in an attempt to appear naturally talented when called upon, momentarily protesting, to do my moonwalking Michael Jackson, or soulful Jackson Browne. Let me tell you, it’s not a pretty sight segueing between the two with a large stain covering your crotch…
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AM I WRITE? (Not a Lot)
by Diana E. Backhouse

With no degree in literature or journalism, nor a published novel to my name, I’m sure that many would disagree with me when I say I am a writer.
I am a writer simply because I write, as I am a needlewoman and an artist due to the fact that I sew and draw, and a gardener because I am the one who does the majority of the gardening in our household.

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October 27, 2012

Spot 053: Abandonment

LUCKY’S STORY
by Diana Backhouse

With the speed of light he won his race,
The pride of the trainer showed on his face.
He was led from the track to collect his prize,
The best dog ever in his owner’s eyes.
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INSIDE OUTSIDE IN
by Paul de Denus

We stay beneath the wood behind the man and woman’s house, Bella by my side, his black fur sleek and shiny. We wait patiently while the man and woman leave food and milk, slip away a distance to watch, their eyes warm like the sun.
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A CHANGE OF FOCUS
by Sandra Davies

The scarlet handset appeared to have spewed a map of South Africa, matching stain spreading and disappearing beneath the sprawled body of the dark-haired woman.

‘What’s that godawful noise?’
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ABANDONED
by Michael D. Brown

Tuesday night, I sat in the absolute darkness of what is jokingly called my living room and lit a single candle. When I realized I was becoming mesmerized by the tiny ovoid flame, I blew it out.
My left temple ached, and I could feel my hands trembling because I knew Lilith was not coming back.

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IN TRANSIT
by Kristine E. Shmenco

One step in front of the other, with his little hand in mine (or what I recall of its feeling in my palm), I walked the long way of the river. I tried not to think of him the whole way, but it was impossible. The river kept its eye on me, never letting me get too far, always keeping me in sight. I kept walking.
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September 15, 2012

HoW3 Book Ready

Sandra advises that the book is just about ready to go after a few minor tweaks, and it looks terrific! It feels so good to have something of such high quality to take one back to a blissful few days with imagination running rampant and being surrounded by good friends, good food, and great writing.

P.S.: You know you can have your bio updated at any time, and this blog remains active.

September 8, 2012

Lost

July 31, 2012

HoW 3

Spirit Lake, Perry, Kansas: 26 – 29 July 2012

The House of Writers, better known as HoW, had its third get-together at Spirit Lake. The first was in New Orleans on Labor Day weekend, 2010. The second was at Blowing Rock, N.C., on Bastille Day weekend, 2011. We enjoyed writing to prompts, reading work in group sessions, and challenging each other in games of Ex Libris among other activities. The setting around the lake was tranquil and inspirational, and an enjoyable publication should be forthcoming.
I regret that we only get to do this once a year. The fifty-two Spots preceding this post and featuring the work of HoW authors writing to themes were meant to serve as a bridge between meetings.
Those in attendance this time around were:

Bolton Carley
Bolton’s pieces can be found on 6S and her personal Bolton Carley’s Blog at wordpress.

Sandra Davies
Sandra Davies is a writer and printmaker, occasionally combining both disciplines as in ‘Edge: curve, arc, circle’ and ‘One that got away’ the precursor to four more novels. Recent poetry has been published in Pigeon Bike’s ‘Beyond the Broken Bridge’ and more is forthcoming from Scribble and Scatter. Sandra’s main writing blog is lines of communication from which links to printmaking blogs can be accessed.

Ed Dean
Ed Dean grew up in Dearborn and Highland Park, Michigan until being drafted into the army and subsequently into the N.S.A. Having been in sales and marketing most of his life, Mr. Dean is now semi-retired and spends much of his time writing. His own experiences in the military, traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe, and as a wine enthusiast provided much of the background to his book. Mr. Dean has three books in the works, including a sequel to The Wine Thief.

Mike Handley
A career journalist, artist and member of the zipper club, Mike mourns sausage made from non-flying things. His musings can be seen at Handlets, and his paintings at Mike Handley Wildlife Artist.

Dorothy Pendleton
Dorothy has a solid grounding in the liberal arts, and can tell you which German preposition takes a dative ending, which an accusative, and which either/or (It’s all about movement and occupying space), but is mystified by how an engineer can go through the day with such faith in fact. She has just moved to Portland, Oregon — a lovely city with a young vibe and very genuine people. Some of her work can be read on Thinking Ten.

Jen Schneider
Jen is an English teacher. Married. She is currently writing a young adult novel and finding daily inspiration through her family and students. Her site is Life on Shuffle.

Kristine E. Shmenco
Kristine is married to a patient rust farmer and says she’s working on being a writer who’s still learning the art and diplomacy of commenting to posts. We say she’s far too humble. Her site is Mirrors * Doorknobs * Dreams at wordpress

Gita Smith
Gita posts flash fiction at 6S and longer work at MuDJoB and LitFire. She blogs at Oh, Fine, Just Fine.

Travis Smith
Travis Smith lives in North Carolina where his day job as an ecologist supports his desire to write fiction. More of his work can be found on 6S and T10.

Michael D. Brown
Currently teaching English in Mexico, Michael maintains MuDJoB and MudSpots (and various other muddy projects) featuring his own and the work of other writers, and would love more than anything to be preparing for the next HoW, right here, right now, but will wait (impatiently) to be with his friends in the flesh next summer.


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